Step 1: Plan the Biggest Cuts First

man marking branches to cut first when pruning a tree
Photo: Karen Bussolini
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Here, Pollack has marked different problem branches with colored tape to illustrate his approach. Keep in mind that you should never remove more than one-third of the tree's growth at a time. A vertical internal stem, with orange tape, competes with established leaders (the tree's main stems) and sticks up too high. Pink tape marks rubbing branches that can injure protective bark. White tape indicates either damaged or broken branches, or dead ones, which are dark and shriveled. Yellow tape marks vertical shoots, called water sprouts, that crowd the tree's interior. Pollack tackles the biggest cut, on the large stem, first. Using a pole saw and cutting in increments to prevent tearing, he prunes the stem back to a lateral branch to reduce its height and encourage additional branching.
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    Tools List

    • Pole Saw
      Pole saw
    • lopper
      Bypass loppers
    • bypass pruners
      Bypass pruners
    • pruning saw
      Pruning handsaw

    Shopping List

    There are no materials to purchase for this project